THE Group Three/Hastings League women's rugby league nines competition kicked off at Tuncurry and Wauchope on Friday despite the number of sides competing dropping from 12 to eight.
"That's disappointing,'' Group Three chief executive Mal Drury said.
Originally matches were to be played on Saturday afternoons, but it was changed to Friday evenings to accommodate referees.
Drury admits it could have had an impact, along with the cost of registration which is $65 for the six-week competition.
"I've heard a few players are also holding back and waiting for the 13-a-side competition proposed to start in February,'' Drury added.
However, he said selectors will name a provisional North Coast Bulldogs squad for next year's Country Championships at the conclusion of the nines.
Players will have to be involved in the nines to be considered for the representative team.
Mr Drury said matches in the southern section of Group Three will be played at Tuncurry and Wingham.
"We were going to play at the Jack Neal Oval in Taree but with Old Bar only fielding one team now it won't be necessary,'' he added.
Matches will kickoff at 6.30 and the program should be finished by 8.15 with the season to conclude on November 22.
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